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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Staff Spotlight Perry, Westlock Parts Manager

When you are practically born and raised into a company it is no surprise you find yourself working there yourself, and that is exactly where Perry's story begins.

Perry's father Roland, started working for the John Deere dealership in Westlock in the mid 50's, so growing up Perry naturally only thought there was one color of tractor - green!

He spent many days at the dealership as a kid and in 1979, had the opportunity to join the parts team at Miller Farm Equipment, and didn't even hesitate as it was like going to work with family.

After excelling as a parts technician and really enjoying the sales side during the annual oil sale, Perry was up for a new challenge and moved into Ag Sales from 1989 - 1995. It was a brief stint as he really missed the everyday interaction with customers from behind the parts counter. So back to parts he went in February of 1995, just in time for the March Oil & Filter Sale! In 2008, Perry moved into the role of Parts Manager and has built a great team of Parts Technicians to serve the Westlock community.

When chatting with Perry about the biggest changes he has seen in his 40 years at Martin Deerline he answered with - “technology.” But he wasn't referring to the technology found in the John Deere equipment but rather in the way we communicate and the tools and software the parts technicians now have access to. “In my early days in parts, if you were on call you would not be able to leave your house,” recalled Perry, “especially during harvest! On the weekends you would either be at the store or sitting at home at the kitchen table waiting for the phone to ring. I thought the fax machine was amazing, when we had the ability to send parts pictures to a customer, now everything is on the computer, we have cellphones and customers can even order their own parts with MyDealer.”

Technology really has changed how we do business, and someone like Perry has progressed through it all, going from binders of parts catalogs, a drawer full of cards that tracked inventory manually and receiving stock orders every two weeks to now having everything at your fingertips on a computer or mobile device and a John Deere parts warehouse right in Edmonton to receive parts orders from every day. The younger generation of Parts Technicians may not know how easy they have it, but Perry's advice for them is simple: “Don't just be an order taker, that will not be satisfying and your career will be short. Build relationships with co-workers, be invested in helping the customers and the days at work won't seem so long!”

Behind every good man is a good woman and Perry thanks his wife Cathy, for being a huge support system for him throughout his parts career. “I could not do what I do without Cathy, she has been by my side all 40 years, including multiple lunch deliveries to the parts counter when I was on call and many date nights which involved parts runs!”

Now in the winter when the parts department gets a little down time, Perry & Cathy enjoy attending as many Oilers games as they can as season ticket holders and take an annual trip to Hawaii to soak up the sun. And if they are not watching sports they are probably keeping tabs on their granddaughter, Gracie, who Perry admitted has him wrapped around her finger, which is exactly where every 6 year old grandchild should be!

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